Ethiopia: Medemer Book Project, Government Accountability

Medemer, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s manifesto of “coming together for a greater benefit”, has been published as a book in three languages (Amharic, Afaan Oromo and English) and launched yesterday in multiple places at once.

PM Abiy still has a lot of support even though his fame among the elites has been declining. The launch is also welcomed and many people are curious what it has. The sell is projected to be one million copies, which very big in Ethiopian book market.

PM Abiy wrote the book after he took power. It is most probable that the manifesto in the book will influence and replace the newly coming political party as a result of merger of EPRDF which used to have an ‘ideology’ of revolutionary democracy.

In any case, the book is authored by the Prime Minster’s personal capacity and it will be distributed/sold as his own product. Therefore, it should be treated as such. Even though he promised to donate the income earned after the sales to public schools, it is all on his willingness.

The book is an individual’s property and shouldn’t cost the state any expense for the production, nor for the distribution and promotion.

Isn’t This a Corruption Case?

The book is not a government policy. It is not even a party program. However, there were many workshops facilitated to many stakeholders and they were hosted by Prime Minister’s staff, in working hours. There are claims most of the expenses in relation to this were covered by sponsors. As we all know, PM Abiy could mobilize and raise that much support because he has state power.

A lot of promotion of the book has been done by state televisions. For the book launch, 9th Ethio-Poultry Expo participants were forced to leave Millennium Hall. For me, this is a clear corruption case. The Prime Minister used his power to promote his book.

PM Abiy said he is a democrat in the launch of his book. Does his democracy include government’s accountability?

Befekadu Hailu

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